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That Dirty Black Bag: Season 1 (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Series
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A solitary bounty hunter carrying his 'cargo' in a dirty black bag crosses paths with tough sheriff in a desert town full of thieves, cutthroats, and prostitutes in this spaghetti western series.

That Dirty Black Bag is the AMC+ original series that resurrects the “spaghetti western” while also employing some elements of steam punk over the course of its eight episodes.

Red Bill (Douglas Booth) is a notorious solitary bounty hunter who prefers to carry on the decapitated heads of his captured bounties in “that dirty black bag” rather than drag their entire bodies around with him. In a desert town that has been praying for water for years, he crosses paths with the sheriff, McCoy (Dominic Cooper). In this town full of bandits, prostitutes, adulterous preachers, and schemers, McCoy, a man with secrets of his own and Red Bill, who is not only hunting bounties, but personal demons from his own past, immediately do not like each other and get off on the wrong foot.

Revealing more about this season will be revealing too much, but let’s say that this series is a gift for fans of westerns, traditional or deconstructed. But let me add that the collection of characters, the writing, exploration of violence, and cinematography help to make this series. Paterson Joseph plays a nefarious “black hat” character named Thompson trying to take control of the town. Find riches and turn everyone against the adulterous Steve (Christian Cooke) who himself is entangled in an affair with the town Madame who runs the local brothel. Thompson has a connection to Steve’s wife, a past relationship.  These entanglements drive the story forward and the story doesn’t shy away from the visceral violence that sets it all in motion as we will eventually find out. Gorgeous visuals and obvious nods to classics of the spaghetti western genre from the opening scene of episode one set this series apart from every other western series on television.

The Video

That Dirty Black Bag comes to Blu-ray in a 2.39:1 AVC 1080p encodement from RLJE. Like most of the AMC releases from RLJE so far, this one looks gorgeous and is a big upgrade over the streaming version. The noise and banding are gone, and we get a clean and cinematic presentation with fine details, nuanced shadows, and natural flesh tones. The series has a few different palettes it uses, especially the warm, desert tones of the scorching outdoors and these come through very well.

The Audio

That Dirty Black Bag comes with its 5.1 mix in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio. This lossless track ups the ante on the 2.0 version available via AMC+ and ups it greatly. This is one of the best 5.1 mixes I have heard for a TV series. It engulfs you in atmospherics, in the score, in the sound effects, in gunshots. It has full and clean dialogue and deep, low frequencies with light, airy high frequencies that do not fatigue the ears.

The Supplements

That Dirty Black Bag comes with zero bonus features – not even a brief making of or scene breakdown. No digital copy, no DVDs, it’s completely barebones.

The Final Assessment

I don’t hesitate to call this first season of That Dirty Black Bag a masterpiece of TV drama and cult westerns. This is one that genre fans will love. I hope that this gets a second season, and they can keep improving. Highly recommended.


  • Rating Certificate: TV-MA
  • Studios & Distributors: BRON Studios | Palomar | AMC+ (streaming) (U.S.) | RLJE
  • Run Time: 419 Mins.
  • Street Date: 26 July 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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That Dirty Black Bag: Season 1 (Blu-ray Review)A solitary bounty hunter carrying his 'cargo' in a dirty black bag crosses paths with tough sheriff in a desert town full of thieves, cutthroats, and prostitutes in this spaghetti western series.
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